There comes a point, well many points, along a cancer survivor's journey where you find yourself pausing and taking a good look at who is still there for you and who you somehow lost along the way.Whether good or bad, it is likely you will feel surprised or maybe even a little blindsided by who you do and don't see. You will feel elated by new friendships and people who have brought more to your life than you could ever imagine. You might also be mourning the loss of someone you thought would always be there for you, but for some reason it was asking too much of them to stand in your corner during the ups and downs of this life you find yourself navigating. While the ones that decided, for whatever reason, to jump ship make you feel like you aren't worthy of their time, love or energy, it has been pointed out to me during hours of therapy that this says more about them than about you. It is so painful to admit it, but I have lost some friends and even family members along this lonely journey and it hurts. Their absence pierces a little tiny hole in my heart that no matter what I do, it just doesn't seem to close. Maybe it doesn't need to. Perhaps that little hole is a reminder how and how not to treat those in need. I think even the ones that leave me, are in fact gifting me the ability to look at life through another lens and really show up for others in a much more meaningful way, had I not experienced the disappointment and overall feeling of being too much for them. I guess looking at the sick me scared you...or made you feel emotions that you didn't know how to handle. Was it my bald head, the tubes hooked up to my body? Did the talk of my treatments make you uncomfortable? I don't think I will every truly know what resulted in my feeling that you don't care what happens to me. Honestly, that's on them, not me and that's all I really want to say about them....because truth be told, if they don't have the energy to help me through the hardest time of my life, I don't have the energy to dwell on their inability to rise to the occasion of being a significant part of my tribe. I'd much rather show my gratitude to the dear souls that have supported me through the good, bad, happy, sad, celebratory, challenging and life changing moments. YOU are the people that I am here to applaud, thank and celebrate.
Thank you for the flowers, the cards, the meals. I'm grateful for the laughs, the tears and the hand holding. I won't ever forget the gifts and phone calls and the text messages. There have been so many moments where I have felt less than and broken and just at the right time, I receive a funny meme or a beautiful poem that makes me feel alive and connected. In these moments, I feel seen and I feel loved. Being the friend or loved one of a cancer survivor can't be easy. It's a long road with so many bumps and the road blocks are one right after another. Thank you for supporting me along the way and not forgetting that even as the rest of the world is moving at warp speed, I'm just here on my own path going at my own pace...not because I want to, but because I have to. Thank you for making me feel worthy of being loved and appreciated. Thank you making me feel as if my life is of value. You are my angels on earth and you have taught me so much about myself and the person I choose to be. One of my favorite quotes sums it up so sweetly. It goes like this:
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you need may be for someone to take the bus with you when the limo breaks down." -Oprah Winfrey
To those of you willing to take the bus with me....thank you. It's been one hell of a ride. I promise to show up for you and be your cheerleader, emotional companion, good listener or fun maker (I particularly like that role!). I love you and I will forever be grateful for your love, friendship and constant support. No one and I mean NO ONE fights, cries, laughs or rides on that damn bus alone. Not on my watch. Much love-M